Beacon Health Strategies (Beacon) is undertaking a groundbreaking public/private partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City (NAMI-NYC) on a pilot project that will promote and engage NAMI services for Beacon plan members in the New York City metro area.
To promote that engagement, the pilot program will provide education on mental illness in general, and specifically, the importance of accessing community-based services. Measurement of the program will be two-pronged: Beacon and its partners will measure the impact that the NAMI services have on participating members’ knowledge of dealing with mental illness and the subsequent use and success of community-based services to support independent living.
The target population is plan members who have recently or previously been diagnosed with a serious mental illness and could benefit from NAMI services to advance their recovery objectives. NAMI’s peer-led programs, whose participation is voluntary, will augment the behavioral health services already available under member health plan benefits. The project which began in June will connect NAMI-NYC’s programs to participants, with community-based courses on mental health topics as follows:
NAMI Basics, an education program for parents and other caregivers of children and adolescents living with mental illness, is taught by trained leaders who themselves are the parents/caregivers of children with mental illness. Its goals include giving basic information for effective caregiving, helping the parent/caregiver cope with the impact of mental illness, and providing tools to assist in making the best decisions for the child’s care.
NAMI Peer-to-Peer is a unique program for people with serious mental illness that focuses on wellness and recovery. It is taught by a team of individuals who are living with mental illness.
“This is a singular opportunity for Beacon to partner with NAMI in a local market,” said Beacon’s CEO Timothy Murphy. “It is exciting to discover how a concerted effort at community-based outreach can improve the quality of life for people who live with mental illness and their families.”
Wendy Brennan, NAMI-NYC Metro’s Executive Director, added, “Beacon cares about individuals who are impacted by mental illness and recognizes the need to expand community-based services. They also understand the importance of incorporating the consumer voice in treatment.”
NAMI will administer surveys before and after the intervention to measure the courses’ impact on knowledge about mental illness, medications, stress management techniques, and wellness management skills. Additionally, Beacon will work with NYU’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research to assist with data analysis and review of members’ subsequent service utilization. The two groups will assess any correlation between the use of NAMI services and the improved use of outpatient and preventive services to support community living.
Founded in 1996, Beacon Health Strategies is a leader in behavioral health care management services for Medicaid, Medicare and commercial populations, serving more than 8 million enrollees with a presence in 21 states and the United Kingdom. Accredited by both URAC and NCQA, Beacon’s success is derived from its member-centric and locally administered managed care services, active integrations of members’ medical and behavioral health care needs, innovative clinical programming, and customized solutions for every health plan partner.
NAMI-NYC is a grassroots organization that provides support, education and advocacy for individuals and families of all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds who live with mental illness. As the largest affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI-NYC works collaboratively with stakeholders in the community to educate the public, advocate for legislation, reduce stigma, and improve the mental health system. NAMI-NYC provides support, education, and advocacy throughout the New York metropolitan area on behalf of families affected by mental illness and their loved ones – all free of charge to the public.